If I Wake Before I Die – Life Lessons… Sort Of

by Y on September 11, 2008

I wrote this in response to Lisa’s recent blog entry “Lost Cause,” and thought it was worth reposting here as well.

Dear Lisa,

I can so deeply internalize your struggles. Is this drug helping… Is it making it worse? There are so many unanswered questions about women’s hair loss. This may sound a bit odd, but I think the longer I’ve lived with hair loss the easier it has gotten for me. I have just a speckle of the hair I had 4 years and certainly 9 years ago, but somehow I just deal better. Those years I didn’t get out of bed half the time, sat in the shower crying and had my mind set that my life was over.

It wasn’t over.

I awoke this morning and fastened my hair tie (wearing my hair down and *feeling* feather hairs is more of reminder) grabbed my coffee and the day begins. I don’t dwell on the looking at myself anymore and I suppose that is the difference is in my hair loss life from not too long ago. I can easily get wrapped up in the balding spot and thinning areas I meticulously cover up with my little Houdini wand called the “comb.” But it serves no purpose. I am doing everything I possibly can and I rest easy knowing I tried EVERYTHING. They say “God helps those who helps themselves.” I’m certain I fall under that category, I’m still waiting to be freed from the shackles of hair loss. “God.. I’m ready now” 🙂

I’ve prayed at home, at the chruch, to St. Jude, to the high heavens, to anything holy and divine that could save me and save my life. Clearly it appears that being a woman with hair loss in this day and age requires an “Act of God” for recovery… “God. I’m ready now.”

The truth is, in some ways my prayers have been answered. No I didn’t grow the hair back I so intently prayed (my exact words where “please let my hair grow back in thick and strong”) but I wanted my life to be saved, and it was. Through better coping mechanisms, new perspectives and improved attitude I can at most times regard my hair situation with some indifference and strength. Huge milestone, “Thank You God.”

According to your profile you are 2 years into your hair loss, and light years more advanced in your overall outlook than I was 2 years into mine. I think you’ll get past this without losing yourself. Whether you stay on the drugs or decide to get off, whether you get a hair piece or a sassy Gi Jane cut.. you can be sure that life continues and you will be filled with happy moments and a sense of knowing that your own suffering was never in vain. You’ve helped countless women here. Knowing my hair loss wasn’t all for nothing, as been more healing than anything else. The best thing a woman with hair loss can do for herself, is to help out another.

My life has been better having known you here, I smile when I see your daughter’s baby pictrue pop up on other women’s profiles, it’s just so darn cute. While I wish your life had never been touch by hair loss, I’m glad you are here now.

We all will have crossroads and important moments we make those potentially life changing hair loss decisions. If we become at peace with ourselves and we accept who we are, there will be no wrong choice. I have my own choice to make. Do I stay on Aldactone and the Pill FOREVER? That would mean I could never have a child if I wanted to. Last I checked you didn’t want to be on a pill while trying to get pregnant and you certainly didn’t want to take an “anti-androgen” if you were pregnant. Those thoughts have haunted me in my hair loss life. But finally I took a deep breathe and said, I’m just going to have to work on ME, I’m going to after to be resolved to losing all my hair if I get off my drugs and I’m going to have to be Okay with it. I have to have an exit plan for that choice, which for me is to shave my head and glue on some fine ass looking hair piece. If it’s good enough for Beyonce, I’m sure I can work it. We think to ourselves “No, it’s not good enough, I want MY hair back” sometimes it just has to be good enough.

There is a story of a spiritual teacher (from Baron Baptiste’s, Journey Into Power) Osho who lived in India and guided many on their spiritual Path. One day, a high ranking Indian politician came to Osho complaining that he was unable to sleep. It seemed no matter what this politician tried, he would toss and turn and rarely catch more than few hours sleep each night. He was exhausted and desperate, so he went to see Osho begging for guidance on how to relax so he could sleep.

“I’m sorry,” Osho told him. “I can’t help you. But there is another spiritual teacher down the road who can. Go to him and tell him I sent you, and that you need to learn ways to fall asleep.”

The politican was overjoyed and headed off down the road to the other spiritual teacher’s home. Several weeks later, he returned to thank Osho.

“Osho, thank you so much! The teacher taught me how to meditate so I could fall asleep. Thank you, thank you, thank you!”

“Wonderful,” Osho replied,. “I am glad you learned how to fall asleep. Now, when you want to learn to wake up, come back and see me.”

There is my daily reminder, we need to WAKE up and start living and not just barely keep our heads above water. We only get ONE life and this is it. I’m be dammed if I just waste away another 9 years with my head stuffed in a pillow. We need to do whatever it takes to starting waking up out of our hair loss stupor.

This is a work in progress, I’m not “free,” I’m not exempt from all the pain my hair loss still brings, I’m just better at realizing the reality. That while I have seriously just a have a pinch of the hair I was born with, I can still get away without being stared at like some carnival side show. Yes it parts and splits in ALL the wrong places, but whatever, most of the time no one notices. I am glad I have the hair I do today. Ten years from now I may look upon this time in my life and say “I wish I knew what I had then even 9 years after my hair loss.” That’s the truth and the reality. If history repeats itself as it so often does, that will be the case. So I appreciate my feather hair and my ability to make a ponytail 🙂

I already know from your writing that you are reclaiming yourself right now. It is a work in progress…

All The Best,

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Marie February 3, 2009 at 4:37 pm

My Dad always prayed this way: “Please Lord, grant me what I want, or make me not want it anymore!” I think being at peace; truly accepting my hair loss; and living a joyful, meaningful , confident life is just as good as getting my hair back.


admin February 3, 2009 at 6:02 pm

Dear Marie – I’d have to agree with you completely. Living a life full of joy, happiness, confidence and purpose is just as good as getting your hair back! Many women live theirs lives with thick full heads of hair, but are unhappy. Acceptance is key, it is the light at the end my tunnel, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, it is the dream I currently chase.

I love your dad’s prayer, I’m going to have to start using that one!



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